“It’s never too late”: A Narrative Inquiry of Older Polish Adults’ English Language Learning Experiences

2019-03-15T12:08:15Z (GMT) by A Kuklewicz J King
Globally, the number of adults aged over 50 is increasing and this group is becoming more active in second language (L2) learning. Despite these demographic changes, little research has focused on the issues faced by older learners. They are either omitted from research studies or viewed as part of a homogenous group of adult learners. Several assumptions appear to exist about this group, for example, that they are too old to learn, or they are likely to have memory problems. These assumptions can impact the pedagogical approach taken by language instructors. This study aims to supplement existing research by exploring the L2 learning experiences of a group of Polish learners of English aged 55 to 68. We conducted a series of interviews using a narrative inquiry approach to uncover the participants’ L2 learning stories in order to understand their aims, challenges and aspirations. Our findings suggest that older adults can be highly motivated and aware of the challenges they face, but also eager to overcome them. This study emphasises that older learners are a neglected group within the field of second language acquisition (SLA) and pedagogical adjustments are needed to meet their learning needs.

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